Archive for September, 2013

MATT SWEENEY

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— These two photos were taken almost simultaneously of my hero, “Cowboy” Jack Clement. This was last Autumn. I used my phone to take the shot of him smiling, sitting next to him on the studio couch where I’m writing this now:

Here’s the man who gave encouragement, guidance and careers to Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt and dozens more then-unknown outsiders and freaks. Supreme benevolent mentoring father. You can see the photographer Lindsey Rome in the background, taking Jack’s photo from the other side. With a turn of his head Clement put on an entirely different show for the large-format film camera operated by the attractive photographer: Here’s the badass ex-Marine and unknowable wildman emulated by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. He could make these guys nervous- they were performing for his approval when he was producing legendary recordings of them. An awesome presence—in the true, scary and charismatic sense of “awesome”. Jack Clement, Nashville’s Wizard of Oz.

One of the principal architects and songwriters of rock and roll and post-1950s country music. He was switched on, making every moment into a performance that reveled in paradoxes. A famous Cowboy Jack line is, “Shakespeare was a big George Jones fan.” Clement never stopped flipping words and situations, Clement constantly fucked with “reality”.

These two photos together are some of my favorite possessions.


Matt Sweeney is an American guitarist, vocalist, and producer. He is best known for co-founding the band Chavez, in 1993. Sweeney also has worked with various musicians and groups including Johnny Cash, Endless Boogie, Cat Power, Guided by Voices, and Bonnie Prince Billy, with whom he recorded the 2005 album SUPERWOLF.

APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— When I was young a close friend told me about a black man on the ceiling. The guy would cling to the upper corner above his bed like a lizard and stare down at him with luminous red eyes. For a long time this image persisted in my nightmares. I lost touch with the friend and didn’t see him again until two years ago, when I ran into him at a reunion. He had become a dentist, and I doubt he remembered that man on the ceiling. Whatever the case, the black man has somehow become a part of my bedroom, and I have seen him on the ceiling many times since.

I grew up in Khon Kaen Hospital because both of my parents were doctors there. We lived in a doctors’ residence, a two-story wooden house. In memory it seems luxurious compared to the apartment building that the hospital provides for its doctors now (actually, that hulking dorm covers the ground where our modest Thai house once stood). My friends were the children of other doctors who had finished their studies in Bangkok and were hot to start putting the knowledge to work and itching to make babies. Doctors’ kids were a part of this provincial outback, and we spent our time in uncomplicated ways. Even just walking around was fun. We rode our bikes around the grounds and flew kites on the lawn in front of the canteen. We would sit and wait for a pushcart to buy chewing gum or sail metal boats on the pond in front of the walkway. Another thing we liked to do was sit in front of the morgue to see the corpses when they were wheeled out on gurneys with their feet sticking out from under the white sheets.

The thing that wasn’t fun was walking home alone at night. As I went along the path I could hear the noise of my own footsteps on the gravel, but with every step I could also hear the sound of someone following me. The faster I ran, the faster it ran after me. I always thought that it was a ghost called a kongkoi, a type that had its feet on backwards. When it walked it looked like it was turned around and heading away from you, and it made a noise—“kok koi kok koi”. The sound of its footsteps as it ran after me seemed to get closer and closer. I didn’t realize that all I was hearing was the sound of the pebbles my own feet were kicking back.

At home at night there was usually a gecko on the outside of a window. These big lizards latch their feet onto the glass pane and bare their pale stomachs. Sometimes there were eggs dimly visible inside. (These days geckos are getting scarce because they are being caught to sell to buyers from Malaysia and Taiwan who pay hefty prices for them. They say cells from the tail can cure AIDS and cancer.) Sometimes my mother would show 8 mm movies that she had shot and edited herself. She like to film flowers and the sea. Our favourite reel was one she shot when my parents and older sister visited the USA. Sometimes she would show slides taken on our different family trips. We would sit there in the little bedroom in a hospital in the middle of nowhere looking at pictures of ourselves. It made me realize that, in addition to her work as a doctor, my mother, in collaboration with the white-bellied gecko, could conduct a mysterious ritual from her movie camera. She filled the room with images of eastern seas, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, a wax figure of Liza Minnelli, monks’ begging bowls being filled in the morning, my father playing tennis, a field of tulips.

In the darkness of my parents’ bedroom my older brother used to climb up behind the clothes cabinet and I would follow along behind him to have a look. There we found boxes of 8 mm porn movies that belonged to my father. The boxes had photos of foreigners having sex in different positions. I had never seen pictures of a penis before except the ones in my parents’ medical books, which usually showed the organ in a sorry state, dripping pus or bent and misshapen. It came as a revelation there behind the cabinet to see men’s cocks that were long and big and red and looked more than just healthy. They fixed the idea in my mind that foreigners had bigger dicks than Asians, and this was especially true of the ones on the Black men we called negroes in those days. Their cocks were long and hard like cacti.

At our house we used Darkie brand toothpaste, which had a picture of a smiling negro on the tube. As a kid I couldn’t brush my teeth without imagining the sound of the 8 mm projector and the sight of those long Black cocks.

Secrets. Excitement. The forbidden. Keeping things hidden. Lust and death. These are the words that define cinema for me. It is like peeking at the corpses at the hospital, and my ghosts are ancient and primeval, not like the ones in Korean and Japanese movies. There is nothing majestic about them. They are bloody, full of pus and worms, and stink of decay. For me movies are a rural rebellion in shabby dress. When I make a film I can’t resist going into the forest where these rancid ghosts are because it makes me feel safe. I think of a film as a personal rite in which it is appropriate to speak in whispers to a small circle of friends, or to sit alone and dream frame by frame in a darkroom with a film printer, not at a museum.


Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a filmmaker, he was born in 1970, in Bangkok, Thailand and currently lives in Chiang Mai. Weerasethakul began making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. Lyrical and mysterious, his nonlinear works deal with memory and subtly invoke social issues. In 2010, his film UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, France. Weerasethakul has also mounted exhibitions and installations worldwide, including the multi-screen project PRIMITIVE, 2009, which was presented at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; and the New Museum, New York, New York, USA, among other venues. In 2012, he created the online film CACTUS RIVER for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and was featured in Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany. He received the Sharjah Biennial Prize at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE, and is also a recipient of the Fukuoka Prize, Japan, 2013.

www.kickthemachine.com
www.anthonyreynolds.com
www.kurimanzutto.com

DAVID LOWERY

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— Earlier this summer, the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin, TX wrote to see if I’d be interested in screening my first feature film St. Nick (2009) in early August, shortly before my new picture opened at the same theater. I immediately said yes. I’d decided long ago to let the film’s lack of distribution serve as a badge of honor; there was some abstract value to be derived from its scarcity, and I was happy to let this screening foment its reputation. That being said, I hadn’t seen the film myself in over three years. I was cautious towards its qualities. As the date of the screening grew closer, I pulled it up on my computer one evening and pressed play.

Let’s jump forward now a few weeks, to the drive from Dallas to Austin on the day of that screening. In the car with me are Augustine, my wife, and Adam Donaghey, one of St. Nick’s producers. We have endeavored, as a challenge unto ourselves, to listen to the same song ten times in a row. This road-trip pastime, devised by a friend and I over the course of many jaunts between Los Angeles and Texas, might seem like an endurance test, especially when some of the songs we’ve anointed in the past are taken into consideration (that they include some grating quality is always a given), but the hope is always that quantity will give way to some hidden quality, and that within the literally decadent repetition of, say, Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain, endurance will give way to an appreciation that will give way—theoretically—to something approaching ecstasy. To be sure, we’ve never broken down the terms of this auditory dare in such certain terms, nor have we ever derived anything particularly transcendent out of listening to (for example) Give It Away Now by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for nearly one straight hour. But it’s all in the trying.

On this trip, we have chosen a particular pop song by a particular artist who, in the weeks ahead, will gain such notoriety that I now hesitate to cite his or her name—I don’t want this experience to be contextualized by culture. What is important is that the song is particularly good. We are aware of this going into it, and we know that we’re setting ourselves up for an ordeal that will be painless at worst. What we don’t expect is that, after ten listens, we don’t want to stop. As the miles drift by out the window, the song infects us with its ebullience. We ultimately listen to it twenty times over the course of the drive, and upon arrival in Austin we still aren’t ready to quit it. We disembark from our journey full of a rare joy.

This is the happiest memory I have from the past few months. It is linked, emotively, circumstantially, to another recent peak: the moment I skipped past a few paragraphs ago and which I’ll now return to the periphery of. I watched St. Nick that night, after pulling it up on my laptop for what I expected to be a curious, cursory glance. I found that I’d forgotten much of it. And also that I loved all of it. I was watching it for as close to the first time as I could. I saw in it all the confidence which I’d been having trouble hanging onto of late. There was a guileless intent to it all, and an enviable clarity. I’d more than a few times in recent memory brushed this film aside, unsure of its value, and now I saw that it had plenty, that it had more than enough, and that it had matured in my ignorance of it. Exactly as I’d presumably planned.

In this way my first feature’s return to the big screen became an event to which I greatly looked forward to, and there was a second anticipation nested within it, a hope creased gently with certainty: perhaps in two or three or four years the movie that has been my immediate concern and the source of no small amount of soul searching will be open to rediscovery; to a surcease of disappointment; to my liking (I won’t go so far as to say loving). This is a wonderful thought.

I am thinking about this again now, in the afterglow of a second trip to the same cinema in Austin, a few weeks after that more vaulted experience. Many people who had come to see the old also stopped by to look at the new. A lot of folks seemed to like it, but my confidence is still borrowing against the future. Upon arriving home after that three hour drive North, I crawl into bed and look online and find that the song which underscored my previous trip has in the past few hours exploded everywhere. I listen to it again—the 21st time, this time live—and know that, however perverse or ironic or postured this corollary might seem, it will forever be tied in my mind to the promise of good things to come.

David Lowery is an American filmmaker. His work, including the award-winning short film PIONEER, has screened and won awards at film festivals around the world, including Sundance, SXSW, Festival Internacional de Cortos FIB (Spain), and Ashland Independent Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine named him one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2011. His most recent film AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, received the cinematography award at 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and was part of the Critics’ Week selection at Cannes, 2013.

ANDY COOLQUITT

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— one of my favorite things to do when i go somewhere is to look at the public sculptures. not necessarily the official public sculptures, although sometimes i look at them too, but the things that happen in public, usually in the street, or in this case, on the street. things that are clumped together, or stacked on top of each other, or simply placed just so. usually there’s something happening that captures the little design decisions that are being made—by officials, by regular folks or by chance, and that’s what makes me look. when i said one of my favorite things was to look at, i also meant to snap a picture of.

this set of pictures is from houston texas, and it might be helpful for readers to know that in houston the football team used to be the called the oilers (because…you know), and the basketball team’s the rockets (because of nasa), and these pictures were taken on the 4th of july, our national holiday of independence, and on that day we eat ribs.

which is a way of introducing another favorite thing i like to do when i’m looking at public sculptures in the city, and that’s to name them. and on this particular day, i kept coming upon these public sculptures of stripe paintings, and the stripe paintings always seemed to stripe over a circular man-hole cover, and those who work for the city, who inevitably have to pry open the man-holes, like to play a little joke on the composition of the stripe paintings when they put the covers back. i mean, how hard is it to line the stripe back up the way it’s supposed to go? and for some reason, on this day, the day of our independence, it really got under my skin. please excuse my outrage…


stick


bar


franzwest


which one


oilers


rockets


art school


oil and gas


ornament and crime


imi knoebel


wrong


wrong…


wrong again


right


magritte


this is a restroom


hubcap grill


almost


pigeon language


math


geometry


flowshafts


duh


round sculptures


4 round sculptures


real round sculptures


trim


dumbass


coolquitt


fake sign


fuckin idiot


2 pipe sculptures


happy 4th


Andy Coolquitt was born in 1964, in Mesquite, Texas and lives and works in Austin, Texas and New York City. Coolquitt is perhaps most widely known for a house, a performance/ studio/ domestic space that began as his master’s thesis project at the University of Texas at Austin in 1994, and continues to the present day. Recent exhibitions include attainable excellence, Blaffer Museum, Houston; chair w/paintings, Lisa Cooley, New York; + at Locust Projects, Miami; Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday at James Cohan Gallery, New York; Wirtreffen uns am Abend at Galerie Kamm, Berlin; Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork… at Galerie Johann Koenig, Berlin; dwelling at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; and Real Estate at Zero, Milan. In Summer 2013 was an artist-in-residence at 21er Haus, in Vienna, Austria.

www.coolquitt.com
www.lisa-cooley.com

OLIVER LARIC

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— In 2011 I named a new hybrid orchid after Aung San Suu Kyi. This was in response to an orchid being named after the current Burmese president, Thein Sein, in 2008. It took some time to find a breeder who would allow me to name a new orchid hybrid. The orchid is now officially registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in London and can be found on their database:

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/horticulturaldatabase/orchidregister/orchidregister.asp

I’ve spent days going through their archive, looking to see which other known personalities have been honored with an orchid in their name. Below is a list of what I found.



Click image to view the full document.

Oliver Laric was born in born 1981, in Innsbruck, Austria and lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo and group exhibitions include: DETOURS OF THE IMAGINARY, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); THE IMAGINARY MUSEUM, Kunstverein München (2012); Museum of the Image, Breda, The Netherlands (2012). Laric is a co-founder of the VVORK platform, alienate/demonstrate/edit, Artspace, Auckland (2012); Villa du Parc Centre d’art Contemporain, Annemasse, France (2012); IN OTHER WORDS, NGBK, Berlin (2012), LILLIPUT, High Line, New York (2012); Frieze New York (2012); Kopienkritik, Skulpturhalle Basel (2011); Based in Berlin (2011); YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2011); Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London (2011); MUSIC FOR INSOMNIACS, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico D.F. (2011); PRIORITY MOMENTS, Herald Street, London (2011); MEMERY, Mass MoCA, (2011); FRAME, Frieze Art Fair, London (2010); ARTISTS’ VIDEO, Vancouver Art Gallery (2010). Laric is a co-founder of the VVORK platform.

www.oliverlaric.com
www.tanyaleighton.com
www.seventeengallery.com